Arriving at the Paro International Airport, our representative will receive you and escort you to the hotel. After lunch/refreshment drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The drive takes you through the winding road with lots of beautiful hamlets.
Tashichho Dzong: Located on the northern edge of the city of Thimphu, on the western bank of the Wang Chu. Tashichho Dzong is Bhutan's most stately and arguably the most impressive building. It has traditionally been the seat of the Druk desi or ‘Dharma Raja’, the head of Bhutan's civil government, an office which has been combined with the kingship since the creation of the monarchy in 1907, and summer capital of the country. It houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and is the summer residence of the venerated monastic community. The current dzong is the impressive result of a redesign of the original medieval structure sanctioned by the Third King, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, when he moved the capital to Thimphu from Punakha. The Fortress of the glorious religion houses the throne room of His Majesty the King, the main secretariat building and the central monk body. Its courtyard is open to visitors during the Thimphu Tshechu and when the monk moves to its winter residence in Punakha.
After breakfast visit the followings:
Memorial Chorten, also known as the Thimphu Chorten, is a large Tibetan-style Buddhist Monastery is a popular landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells. It was built in 1974 to honor the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The architecture of the chorten has been designed to present it as ‘one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu’.
Folk Heritage Museum: A three storied traditional building houses the Folk Heritage Museum. The earthen and timber building was renovated and restored few years ago to appear as it was century ago. Established in 2001 in Thimphu, the museum provides glimpse into the traditional Bhutanese material culture and way of life. The artifacts, which are kept inside the house, remind the visitors about how the rural Bhutanese live today. This 19th century traditional house provides you a glimpse of the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. One can come across typical household objects, tools and equipment.
National Institute for Zorig Chusum commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.
The National Library of Bhutan was first established in 1967 under the patronage of HM Queen Ashi Phuntso Choden (1911–2003), with a small collection of precious texts. The library was initially housed within the central tower (utse) of Tashichho dzong. Later, due to its growing collection, it had to move to a building in the Changangkha area of Thimphu.
Junghi Handmade Paper Factory ; the unit in Thimphu produces traditional handmade paper from natural plants mainly from ‘Daphne’ plant species which is insect-resistant. The other unit in Jimina, 22 km from the centre Thimphu town, recycles waster papers. The traditional handmade papers are widely used for religious scripts, packing materials, hand-carry bags, lampshades, envelopes, calendars . The paper looks a lot like Japanese washi, and in fact a lot of Bhutanese paper is exported to Japan also.
National Institute of Traditional Medicine strives to merge the allopathic and traditional systems of healing. A large laboratory and a production facility inside the institute monitor and ensure the quality of the components like the plants, minerals, precious metals etc. A day-care facility and clinic opened in the institute is available for public use. The institution also produces Bhutanese medicines and they have a plot inside their premise where they grow different herbs and plants. The institution premise has a small museum, a gift shop (where the famous herbal tea -Tsheringma- is produced) and also a training school for traditional medicine practitioners. After the closing of the institute, visitors can walk along the compound to view it from the outside.
After breakfast visit the following:
The Takin (Budorcas taxicor) is the national animal of Bhutan and also called cattle chamois. This globally rare and endangered animal is admired for its unique physique and agility on steep terrain of Bhutan. According to Lam Drukpa Kuenley(Devine Madman) Takin was created by joining the bones of a goat’s head and bones of the cow’s body. Thimphu Takins are kept in Motithang Takin Preserve center or Takin Mini Zoo
Weekend Market: If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chillies, fresh cheese and a variety of fresh greens. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. (This market is open only from Friday until mid Sunday).
Bhutan Postal Muesum was established in November 2015 to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The main objective of the museum is to tell the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the lens of the evolution of communications and postal system in the country. The story is told through anecdotes, artifacts and the rich assortment of stamps the country has produced over the years. You can have ayour own personalised stamp made with your own picture, bring an image you like on a USB stick to avoid the line outside the photographer's studio
After lunch drive to Paro:
The National Museum of Bhutan is housed inside the revamped circular Ta-dzong building, an ancient watchtower above the Paro Dzong. This unusual round building is said to be in the shape of a conch shell. The original building was constructed in 1656 but the building was converted into a museum in 1968. The necessary infrastructure was created to house some of the finest specimens of Bhutanese art, including masterpieces of bronze statues and paintings gathered from different parts of the country. Suitable galleries were constructed to house the extensive collections. Works of art were elegantly displayed on scientific lines.
Some of the handicrafts items cover the history and cultural heritage of more than 1500 years. The National Museum has in its possession over 3,000 works of Bhutanese art, rich holdings of various creative traditions and disciplines that represent a remarkable blend of the past with the present and is a major attraction for local and foreign visitors.
Paro Dzong is one of the most impressive and well-known dzongs in Bhutan. One of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture, it is also known as the Ringpung Dzong, which means ‘fortress on a heap of jewels’. It is the administrative seat of the district of Paro. The dzong was built in the 16th century on the foundation of a monastery built by Guru Rinpoche. It was used on numerous occasions to defend the Paro Valley from invasions by Tibet.
Drive to Satsam chorten and hike to Taktsang Monastery (10 Km) from Paro Town. The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest”. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800m.And overlooks the Paro Valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated at the spot where the monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress.
The hike takes about 4 hours back and forth depending on the level of the hikers. Once you reach the view point of the monastery you have the option to visit the monastery which takes another hour hike.
Perched on the side of a vertical cliff at 3000 m altitude north of Paro, this monastery creates an impressive sight, and is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan. It is one of the most famous Buddhist Monasteries in Bhutan and is also referred to as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) flew to this location from Khenpajong, Tibet on the back of a tigress and subdued a demon. He then meditated in a cave here for three months and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations) and blessed the place. Guru Padmasambhava is known for introducing Buddhism to Bhutan. Today, Paro Taktsang is the best known of the thirteen caves in which he meditated.
The first monastery was constructed 1694, but in 1998 a tragic fire destroyed most of the original buildings - which have since been painstakingly restored to their former glory. Taktsang Monastery is a pilgrimage site for both tourists and locals, it is a journey filled with spiritual bliss. Keeping the spiritual side aside, the journey up to Taktsang Monastery is a Hiker’s delight. An hour hike up to a small wooden teahouse called Cafeteria provides close view of the monastery. A further and a rather challenging hike lead you to the glorious Taktsang Monastery.
Later visit Kyichu Lhakhang is a Buddhist temple in Paro. It is one of the oldest monasteries in the country built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demoness lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism.
On this day after breakfast, check out from the hotel and move to airport/railway station for departure.
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